This briefing, published in August 2022, is part of our educational pathways series and is accompanied by a suite of data tables looking at the qualifications available in further education (FE), with 2 main categories: technical/vocational qualifications and apprenticeships, with more emphasis on apprenticeships (due to the data available).
The focus is on ‘engineering-related qualifications’, which – in line with previous EngineeringUK research – covers the ‘construction, planning and the built environment’, ‘engineering and manufacturing technologies’, and ‘information and communication technology’ sector subject areas.
We look at the recently introduced T levels, their aim being to create clearer vocational pathways into engineering, while also allowing the flexibility to move across different educational routes. Construction was one of the first T levels to be introduced in 2020/21, with engineering and manufacturing to follow from 2022/23.
We then look at apprenticeships, which are an important route into engineering careers though numbers entering onto them have been impacted by reforms in recent years. Furthermore, when we look at the characteristics of apprentices, in terms of gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic background, there is less diversity among engineering than other subjects. This mirrors what we see in the engineering workforce and suggests that more work needs to be done to create more diversity amongst engineers for the future.